Evaluating community-based tourism models : the case of Zulu-Mpophomeni tourism experience
Ndlovu, Thulile Promise
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The primary aim of the study is to evaluate the community-based tourism model adopted by the Zulu-Mpophomeni Tourism Experience (ZMTE). ZMTE is a community-based tourism initiative that aims to provide visitors with a combined experience encompassing the elements of culture, history and nature. It is fully owned and managed by the Mpophomeni local residents. ZMTE is made up of different service providers including cultural and township tours, accommodation, restaurants as well as arts and crafts, which are all locally owned and managed. The inception of ZMTE was influenced by the growth in demand for authentic cultural and township experience by international markets as well as the immediate need to improve the livelihood of the local community. However, increased tourism activity results in a number of positive and negative implications to the area of Mpophomeni and its residents, primarily because the local community forms part of the tourism product. ZMTE is selected as a significant area of study due to its great potential for growth and has generated increased interest from different stakeholders within the tourism industry as well as the Mpophomeni local community. Its inception has largely improved tourism in the area of Mpophomeni and the province of KwaZulu-Natal in particular (KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority: 2012). The study findings are based on a sample of 280 Mpophomeni local community members, one managing director of the ZMTE and six establishments that are service providers of the ZMTE. The study adopted both quantitative and qualitative methods for data collection. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to obtain data from the Mpophomeni local community. Face- to-face interviews were conducted to obtain data from ZMTE service providers and one managing director of this project. The results suggest the ZMTE is not beneficial to the majority of the local people and a lot still needs to be done in order to improve its viability. The major factor contributing to the lack of positive contribution of the ZMTE to the local community is due to the lack of knowledge about approaches that the local people can adopt in order to be part of the ZMTE and benefit from it. Findings derived from this study will unveil the CBT model adopted by the ZMTE. This will enable to revelation of areas that require improvement within the ZMTE so that benefits and opportunities are exploited.